Apple’s 2016 Macbook: Thin and light – and it’s now faster too


I have been a big fan of thin and light machines, though my body type tells a different story, my life as a road warrior requires me to always be online and connected. And over the years the Apple iPad has been my goto device (this article was even written on one).

After all, with a full day battery life and limited multitasking, it lets you accomplish your day to day tasks, whether you are a student, a working professional or a businessman. From consuming what the worldwide web offers, to creating content. Over the years it has only become more and more powerful.

I gave up on a laptop as my portable machine with the iPad 2 that let me not only consume but create as well. Yes I do all my presentations (make and show), edit most of my Word and Excel files and even answer all my emails with the iPad, thanks to third party keyboards from Logitech and Microsoft. But with the 9.7-inch Apple iPad Pro I can accomplish far more tasks, including editing videos and photos from my vacation, that I share on Instagram, down to the documents that I need to work on. But the iPad is not the end of it all, as the large 27-inch iMac lets me finish and refine my work when I get home.

The Apple MacBook Air has been an appealing machine for quite some time, but was never powerful enough. Yes it offered portability and delivered the battery life one required on the road. But the size vs performance factor never really appealed to me. The other alternative was the MacBook Pro – which was powerful, but not portable. So this resulted in many using an iPad for less resource intensive tasks, and bringing processing heavy tasks back to the iMac. Apple changed all of this with the MacBook last year – a 12 inch machine powerful enough to handle everything you threw at it and light enough to throw it on your back and go vagabonding across the world. But last night’s refresh changes all of this once again.

Though this is just an incremental upgrade, there is more to it than meets the eye, and am seriously contemplating on getting one as my workhorse.

The brand new sixth generation Intel processor is powerful. Yes, it is slightly faster than the previous generation if you were to just look at numbers, but Intel and Apple have changed quite a bit under the hood. The first obvious change being a brand new graphics system. The new processor and the Intel HD graphics 515, a brand new subsystem that not only features onboard support for 4K graphics but also speeds up the rendering engine. A direct benefit you get when you are watching those 4K videos or streaming content over the Internet (provided you have the bandwidth). The new chipset gives the machine not just a powerful rendering engine, but also improves battery life.

With the new 2016 MacBook, Apple promises an increase in battery life by at least an hour. So now on top of the 8 hours that you usually get or the 10 hours that the machine is designed for, you are free to stay away from a plug point for an additional hour. This additional hour for a road warrior is a shy difference between a successful business meeting or the sad moment of looking for point to plug in your machine, the moment you reached for that presentation.

Apple now also offers a minimum of 8GB RAM (yes Windows users, that’s 8 gigs minimum) that ensures that you have all the available memory to do what you want. I agree that there are times this machine may not be suitable for editing a 4K video or for use with Photoshop professional work. But if you are a business user, this is the most powerful machine in a thin and light package that you can get your hands without any sacrifices.

But hey! It is not perfect. I am queuing up to get myself the brand new MacBook, but with only one USB Type C port for connectivity means that I will have to lug around converters. My work requires me to have an additional monitor, an Ethernet wired connection and access to an SD card. I will have to carry plenty of cables and converters, but again, this is only when I am at work and not when I am on the road. On the road, the MacBook is a great companion to have, something I skipped on the first generation, but something that I am queuing up to buy this time around.

The brand new sixth generation Intel processors beyond being very efficient and supporting better graphics will also let you login to your machine using facial recognition. Though this is not enabled in the current version of Mac OS X, it may arrive in the future, opening up a whole new world of seamlessness when it comes to technology.

For now if you are like me, who needs a powerful machine, for everyday usage, ready to go with a full day of charge the 12-inch MacBook makes a great choice, at Rs 1,06,900. However, the sixth generation m5 processor clocked at 1.5GHz, 512 GB of solid state storage at an incremental price of Rs 23,000 is what I am going for. With that my iPad Pro takes a backseat to be my sketch and drawing machine. Indeed, this makes me wonder how and when will Apple get the Apple Pencil to the MacBook.

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